Eminent Domain is the power to legally take your property
Eminent Domain is the power to take private property for public use by a state, municipality, or private person or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the government to provide just compensation to the owner of the private property to be seized. A variety of property rights are subject to eminent domain, such as air, water, and land rights. The government takes private property through condemnation proceedings. Throughout these proceedings, the property owner has the right of due process.
Elements of Eminent Domain
To exercise the power of eminent domain, the government must prove that the four elements set forth in the Fifth Amendment are present: (1) private property (2) must be seized (3) for public use (4) and with just compensation. These elements have been interpreted broadly.
Private Property The first element requires that the property taken be private. Private property includes land as well as fixtures, leases, options, stocks, and other items.
Seized The second element refers to the taking of physical property, or a portion thereof, as well as the taking of property by reducing its value. Property value may be reduced because of noise, accessibility problems, or other agents
Public Use The third element, public use, requires that the property taken be used to benefit the public rather than specific individuals.
Just Compensation The fourth element set forth in the Fifth Amendment mandates that the amount of compensation awarded when property is seized or damaged through condemnation must be fair to the public as well as to the property owner. Because no precise formula for determining it exists, just compensation is the subject of frequent litigation.
What should I do if I am the subject of Eminent Domain
You should get experienced legal help immediately. The condemning agencies retain experienced eminent domain professionals, and you should too. Know and protect your rights. The government must pay the highest price paid by knowledgeable buyers on the open market.In most situations you should pay attorney’s fees only if you recover more than the government’s offer.
DiJulio Law Group